Aika Alemi

Black Sheep



Astana / kazakhstan

My name is Aika, I am Kazakh. After 17 years of working for large corporations I left my job because I felt my path is elsewhere. I got into a film school in America and started to create… clothes. One day I bought a whole roll of fabric for I really loved its rare pastel hue. I couldn't sleep at night until I figured what dresses and skirts it will materialise into. I always wondered how to use Kazakh traditional patchwork, quilting, felting techniques and create clothing. I found a way how to wear a carpet or yurt felts! For instance, I applied the wool felt in a lace-like manner on a transparent silk and used the reversible patchworks and quilts for transformer pieces with multiple wear options. I love hand-stitching and detailed artisanal techniques. Kazakhs traditional crafts endlessly fill and inspire me. It is still largely unknown to the rest of the world and I want to show how deep, wise and beautiful our history and traditions are. I work with a lot of craftswomen in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and we all love the challenge of creating luxury from the place where it is least expected. In this day and age of mass production I strive to create pieces that have a lot to say and will last for generations. Limited in number, long to make and costing a lot but something that will capture the world that is disappearing. In my foundation together with my colleagues and friends we do some work to revive traditional crafts in my country whose economy is oil&gas dominated. We teach craftswomen design, the colours and trends, we give them jobs, show them how they can use their skills in high fashion and be part of something amazing they can see on TV. Alemi is Kazakh for "world". I am living it and this is true happiness and bliss.

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